kanarinka's blog

Terra Incognita: Call for Participation in our Pilot Study

I've been working with Ethan Zuckerman and Matt Stempeck on an alpha version of Terra Incognita: 1000 Cities of the World, a news game and recommendation system designed to help you discover relevant, fun, weird, interesting or stereotype-busting information about 1000 global cities. We are getting veeeeeery close to an alpha version and now we need users!

Can you help us with our first user study?

Sign up here to participate in our user study on the system. Participants in the study get an advance look at Terra Incognita and the opportunity to play a significant role in shaping its development.

Olafur Eliasson and the Little Sun Project | The Civic Art Initiative

Olafur Eliasson is a Danish-Icelandic artist who is receiving the MIT McDermott Award in the Arts for 2014. He recently spoke at the Center for Civic Media as part of the Civic Art Initiative.

DML 2014: Playful Learning and Political Engagement

This short talk panel at DML2014 was organized by Eric Gordon and brings together case studies in game design and political engagement. 
Civic Seed: The Collaborative Challenge of Creating a Video Game for Civic Engagement
Presenter: Mindy Nierenberg


Big Data and the Future of Journalism

Yesterday MassINC, along with a number of partners, hosted the event "Big Data and the Future of Journalism". Here's an excerpt from the event announcement:

The Civic Art Initiative presents Kambui Olujimi

On Thursday, February 6th, the Civic Art Initiative recently partnered with the List Gallery at MIT to host a lunch and participatory art event with artist Kambui Olujimi. Here's a brief excerpt about his project which is installed in the Bakalar Gallery until Feb 23rd:

News as Exploration, Discovery and Serendipity

Last year in Ethan Zuckerman's class Future of News and Participatory Media we read a provocative article by the Swiss novelist Rolf Dobelli entitled News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier. In the article he lays out some fairly compelling reasons for not reading the news: It makes us passive and angry, kills our creativity, moves too quickly to be meaningful, and produces skewed senses of risk and danger. For Dobelli, news stories are "bright-coloured candies for the mind", diversionary at best and toxic at worst. In her response to the article, journalist Madeline Bunting makes a case for the conventional wisdom of the civic function of news, "At its root there is a responsibility to know and understand the world and age you live in. That is at the root of democracy: that we all have a responsibility to make decisions about how our society is ordered. How is democracy possible if people don't want to know?"

Terra Incognita: Seeking Journalists and Civic Actors to Pilot our News Game

Calling all journalists, news innovators and civic actors! Terra Incognita is a news geography game and news recommendation system. Help us test Terra Incognita in its alpha stages.

At the Center for Civic Media we are conducting research around ways to engage people in news about diverse global geographies. Just as our habits in physical space show that we tend to follow the same spatial pathways on our commutes between work and home, we also form habits around reading and experiencing information. Typical recommendation systems try to match you based on criteria of similarity - i.e. with things that you already know and know you will like. But how can we stage encounters with more diverse information, cultures and people? How can we subtly disrupt our habits in the service of serendipity? Sometimes all you need is a fun reason to vary your everyday routine.

Big Data, News and Geography: Research Update

The New York Times
Image: One month of the world according to the New York Times

At the Center for Civic Media we do a lot of demos for the Media Lab in which we synthesize our work for visitors, sponsors and classes. Recently in our demos we talk about the three big three questions that our work in quantitative media analysis addresses: The What, Where and Who of Attention. We are interested in what topics are being discussed by mainstream media sources as well as social and participatory media. We are interested in where, geographically speaking, gets more (or less) attention and how media influences space and place. And we are interested in who gets to speak in the complicated new media ecosystem.

For What we have work like Attention Plotter by Erhardt Graeff (part of the Controversy Mapper project) that seeks to map how a local news story like the Trayvon Martin case becomes a full-blown media firestorm. Nathan Matias has been working on Who by analyzing the gender breakdown of internet media and by creating personal media interventions like Follow Bias. And as for Where - well, that's what this blog post is about.